I’m sorry, but I’m never going to shut up about pushing a nearly seven pounder out of my hoo-ha, so please family, friends, readers, etc., accept my shameless bragging for what it is. I couldn’t help it if I tried. It is positively and one hundred percent the proudest moment of my entire life.
Truthfully, I never thought I could do it. I mean, based on logistics alone, I didn’t think it was possible. That big thing (watermelon) has to come out of that small thing (pea)?! Oh, Jesus. I still get the cold sweats thinking about it. If I recall correctly, right up until the moment when the doctor pulled the slippery, slimy little thing out, I didn’t think it was actually going to work. There I was pushing and pushing like a mad woman, but all the while still thinking, “Nope. Not going to happen, it’s just not going to happen,” and BAM, suddenly he was out. I remember laying there like, “Seriously, what the **** just even happened??!! Am I still alive? Am I dead? I’m dead, aren’t I? No, I’m definitely alive. Oh my God. And there’s my kid!”
Giving birth is the freaking craziest, messiest, agonizing thing ever, and every mom who has ever given birth, whether you pushed that sucker out, or had a c-section, is a hero.
But, now I’ve gone ahead, and rushed straight to all the big stuff. I should really start at the beginning, shouldn’t I? I should start at the part where my water broke, and how I really thought I was peeing, but it was really my water breaking, but then I was still really convinced that I was peeing, but it was in fact my water breaking.
The whole thing went down something like this:
It was about a week before my due date, and there I was, this gargantuan, bloated pregnant lady who had been behaving like a crazed woman for weeks. Not only was I cleaning and organizing my apartment, I was ranting and raving about everything from the baby’s dresser being built, to my rapidly expanding fat arse. I can confirm in hindsight that none of it was worth my tirades, because the dresser was built, and my fat arse deflated and eventually went back to normal.
In an effort to relax before the baby arrived, I decided to go into the city for a facial. I felt particularly great that day, too. In fact, I felt so good that I walked more than I had in months in just that day. I walked all over the city, feeling lighter and more carefree than I had in weeks. It was June, so it was very hot, and I got more than a few concerned stares as I traipsed all over New York City, my big belly turning crowded city blocks before the rest of my body could catch up. After my facial, I did a little baby shopping, and felt so refreshed that I walked the entire forty minute haul back to Penn Station. Once I got home, my husband and I went out for pizza, and watched some television before turning in for bed.
It was close to eleven thirty at night when I lay my head down to go to sleep, but before I did, I dragged myself out of bed for the first of what would likely be one hundred pee’s that night. When I was finished, I started to walk back to bed, and that was when I heard a pop. It wasn’t a loud pop, more like a pin-pricked balloon very slowly letting out air. Confused, I looked down to find a small puddle on the bathroom floor. I know it’s stupid, but I had no idea it was my water breaking. I sighed, cleaned it up, and started to walk back to the bedroom, but I didn’t take four steps before full-fledged water began to flood. By then you’d think I’d have a clue that it was my water breaking, but I was still unsure, so I yelled for my husband, and when he got to me, I frantically said this: “I think I peed my pants, but it might be my water breaking, but it’s probably me just peeing my pants, but there’s a lot, so maybe it’s my water breaking? Is it my water breaking? Am I in labor? Or did I just pee my pants?!” I still don’t know why I kept using the phrase “pee my pants”. Maybe it was the giddiness of the moment, or the sheer ridiculousness of it all, but there I stood, rambling about about peeing my pants, when my husband calmly said, “Your water just broke. You did not pee your pants.” I nodded slowly, absorbing the information. Well, that was that then, I guess.
And then I got very scared.
I had gone over the scenario in my head dozens of times, what to do after my water broke. I had a plan: phone call to my parents to tell them to start driving from Michigan, phone calls to my in-laws, texts to friends, take a shower, put the last few things into my very well thought out hospital bag. And out of all of those necessary things to be done, do you want to know what the first thing I did was? I started frantically packing a giant tote bag of snacks. Why snacks? I still have no clue. Maybe it was a deflection, but all I do know is that I was super serious about the snacks. I’m pretty sure I brought an entire jar of peanut butter. For the record, I didn’t eat the peanut butter, or anything else I brought.
My contractions had barely started by the time I arrived at the hospital, and it was almost one in the morning by then. I lay there in my shared hospital room, the girl on the other side of the curtain, wincing out loud in pain. The sounds she was making amplified my fear for what was to come, but it didn’t take long for me to understand what she was going through. Not long after that, the real contractions started, and I went to a private room.
And I was in pain. Oh, was I ever in pain. I’m a huge wuss, but holy hell, this was bad. I used to be frustrated by other moms who couldn’t describe exactly what contractions felt like. I’d ask a million questions, “But what does it FEEL like?” I never got a straight answer. I wanted details, the nitty-gritty. It seemed like no one could ever find the words. Now I understand why. It’s indescribable. I’d try to give you some adjectives , but it would be useless. All that you need to know it that it hurt really f’ing bad, and there was little to no relief from the pain.
And then the contractions made me do all of the cliche things that pregnant women do in the movies.
I was swearing:
“Mother f*****, ****, ****. It hurts. Mother f*****!!!!!!!!!!”
Then I was crying, and begging for the epidural. The girl who had mused her whole pregnancy that maybe she wouldn’t even get an epidural, was clearly seeing that giving birth without it, was not a possibility. Once the anesthesiologist came in and administered the epidural, I had relief from the pain within seconds.
My good spirits once the pain went away lasted for hours. I was joking around, I sent my husband home to take the dog out, I made phone calls. The doctor kept coming in to see if I had dilated, which I was, at a steady pace.
Hours went by, and then something suddenly felt different. The pain was coming back, and I thought my epidural was wearing off. The pressure had greatly increased again. I can’t imagine what that would’ve felt like without an epidural, and I honestly don’t want to know. When the doctor came back, I told him what I was feeling, and when I paused to find the words to describe the pressure, he said in a thick New York accent, “If it feels like you have to take the biggest sh*t of your life, it’s probably go-time.” It made me laugh, because only in New York would a doctor say something like that, but he was right. I was fully dilated by three o’clock in the afternoon, and it was go-time.
The rest is kind of a blur.
Things turned quickly. Numerous nurses and residents came into my room, and started setting up. The doctor was putting on gloves and a mask, and within minutes I was pushing. The doctor told me that if I did exactly what he told me, I would have this baby out in a half an hour. I was skeptical.
Once I really started getting into the pushing, the doctor was firing me up like a hot-headed high school football coach, saying things like, “Do you want this baby out, or what?” Through gritted teeth I replied, “Yes, I want this baby out!” I pushed some more. “Than you have to PUSH when I tell you to PUSH!” he wailed. My husband was holding my hand all the while, encouraging me. “You’re doing great,” he told me. “Just keep pushing.”
As I pushed my hardest against the contraction, I asked what probably every woman in the history of ever giving birth asks.
“No you’re not pooping,” everyone in the room assured me in unison. I breathed a sigh of relief, and resumed pushing.
And what happened after that is kind of a crime scene.
There was more pushing, then there was blood, then there was a lot of blood, and then there was a baby who came out looking so completely stunned that he didn’t even cry at first. After my husband cut the umbilical cord, the doctor lay him on my chest, his head had multiple knots from squeezing out the birth canal, and his face was bloated. But he looked up at me, our eyes met, and it was like we had known each other forever. There was an understanding. He knew who I was. I was his mama.
And I’ll just gloss right over all the really messy stuff that happened after the good stuff, but let’s just say that there was blood being cleaned up, there was placenta being delivered, and there was some stitching up. I know, yuck. But just like all the other mom’s who had heroically pushed a kid out of their hoo-ha’s before me had said, “None of it even matters, once the baby is in your arms.”
And they were right. They were so right.